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Scientific Committee on Languages

The SIGMA Scientific Committee on Languages, which was part of the wider SIGMA Project designed to prepare the ground for the Socrates-Erasmus Thematic Network projects, was made up of sixteen leading experts drawn from universities in fourteen Member States, Norway, and Switzerland. In addition, there were representatives from CIUTI (Conférence international permanente d'instituts universitaires pour la Formation Traducteurs et d'Interprètes, ESSE (European Society for the Study of English), from the SIGMA Executive Committee, and the European Commission. The chairperson, Wolfgang Mackiewicz, was nominated by UNICA, one of the six institutional networks forming the SIGMA consortium.

The experts on the Committee came from different backgrounds, ranging from ltierature to linguistics, applied linguistics, language teaching methodology, and applied language studies.

The committee, which first met in December 1995, undertook three major tasks:

  1. It produced National Reports for the sixteen countries represented, written by sixteen national experts. The reports describe the status quo of Language Studies in the sixteen countries, thereby for the first time providing a comprehensive and coordinated overview of the immensely complex area of Language Studies in higher education. In addition, they identify new needs, taking into consideration the development of Language Studies, professional requirements, and the demands which will result from the creation of a united Europe. Finally, they propose concrete measures to be taken to satisfy the needs identified.
  2. The Committee undertook an evaluation of past inter-university co-operation in the area of Languages. The report, prepared by a junior researcher, forms the basis of the ERASMUS Report presented as Part One of the Final Report.
  3. The Committee planned and staged jointly with Stockholm University and the European Commission (DG XXII) an Erasmus Evaluation Conference, which was held at Stockholm University on 9-10 June 1995. The Conference accomplished four tasks:  it reviewed the current state of Language Studies in higher education in Europe on the basis of the respective synthesis of the National Reports of short presentations by the rapporteurs in working groups; it evaluated the activities, under ERASMUS, in the area of Languages; it provided information on and discussed new types of action foreseen under the SOCRATES Programme, particularly in the area of Languages; and it formulated, against the background of the needs identified and the new measures proposed in the National Reports, recommendations, which have been incorporated into the Conference report (Part Two, Section 3 of the Final Report).

The Introduction, Erasmus Report, and full Synthesis report can be found here. In addition, you can read the Introduction to the National Reports and find all of the reports below: